I’ve been developing with WordPress for 10 years, and currently administer about 40 client websites. I’ve spent some time with Gutenberg, and I’m certain that if this is where WordPress is headed, it’s probably the beginning of the end of my reliance on it as a content management system.
WordPress has always been focussed on writing. The classic editor works wonderfully as a writing environment. My clients find it intuitive because it mimics the interface of Word and similar software. I’ve rarely had to explain to anyone how to compose a post in the classic editor – they just get it.
As a writing environment, Gutenberg is obscenely clunky. Little labels and toolbars fly around when I move from paragraph to paragraph. It’s visually distracting and disruptive – I want to be able to click and edit writing without having to worry about a toolbar jumping in the way. The sidebar seems designed to encourage users to futz around with font sizes and colours rather than writing. It breaks basic OS-level text editing features like being able to highlight text and drag it to a new location.
I understand the usefulness of “blocks”, and I think a more minimal approach to creating “blocks” in WordPress could work well. Medium.com uses a similar concept and still manages to be a pretty great writing environment. Gutenberg is not. It is not ready for wide release, and should never be made the default editing experience. I hesitate to call it an “editor” at all – it feels like an overly complex, knockoff page-builder.
For example – I type a line of text, then decide to make it a heading. To do that, have to click the “paragraph” symbol, which makes no sense (and the button does not even look “clickable”, since it’s already highlighted). Gutenberg makes it far easier to just make the font size bigger so it looks like a heading, which is what 90% of casual users will probably do, which seems like a disaster for accessibility.
Some of your UI decisions are bizarre. Why is the “Publish” button crammed in the top right corner, where it is much less visible? Why did you remove the word count tool? Why on earth does a “Change Permalinks” button show up when I’m editing the post title? (Also, the permalinks for new posts are being displayed in “Plain” format, when my settings specify “Post Name”).
Gutenberg litters HTML code with cruft, and seems likely to break a ton of plugins I rely on, such as Advanced Custom Fields. It makes WordPress less intuitive for casual users, and is basically a nightmare for longtime developers. Please rethink what you are trying to accomplish with this.
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